Inspired by 1960’s science fiction films, Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is publisher Merge Games’ latest “escape the room” FPS puzzle adventure. While still in Early Access, Albedo is an already intriguing little title that oozes with style and atmosphere. What’s even more impressive is that just one man, Fabrizio Zagaglia, is developing the entire game. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is a love letter to fans of classic sci-fi films and those feeling nostalgic for old-school PC gaming. While still technically a little rough around the edges, Albedo shows a lot of promise with its challenging puzzles and unique gameplay mechanics. If Zagaglia manages to clean up some of the visuals and controls by the game’s official launch in February 2015, Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space may end up being the next big thing on Steam.
Players take control of John T. Longy, a night watchman at a sketchy research facility where scientists conduct research on space and time. After a sudden blackout in the middle of the night, John finds himself surrounded by unusual alien-like organisms. It’s up to John to find a way out and uncover the truth behind the odd experiments. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is divided into small, claustrophobic rooms filled with interactive objects, secrets and odd creatures. It’s up to John to use all available resources lying around the environment and find an exit.
"Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is a love letter to fans of old sci-fi films and those feeling nostalgic for old-school PC gaming."
There aren’t any tutorials or instructions. Much like the recent Vanishing of Ethan Carter, it’s up to players to uncover the game’s mechanics. Pick up objects, analyze them and figure out how they combine with each other to reveal the exit. The controls are simple. Each object can be interacted with in different ways. Things can be stored in the inventory, thrown, combined with specific items and edibles can be consumed to restore energy. Pressing down on the mouse wheel “highlights” interactive objects, which is very helpful when feeling lost. The puzzles are well made and some of them are absurdly challenging, but each is solvable with a bit of patience and critical thinking.
"Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is one of the most enjoyable Early Access titles I’ve played in a long time."
Visually, Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space captures the 1960’s sci-fi aesthetic wonderfully, but the entire game is too dark. I tested the game on a professionally calibrated monitor and still had a hard time making out details in most areas. Zagaglia is clearly going for a darker ambience, but the lighting and textures need more work. Dark areas shouldn’t be pure black, especially when there’s a clear light source nearby. Textures could also use more clarity and polish. Amnesia, for example, is a very dim game that manages to show details even in the shadowiest corners. It’s certainly something that can be fixed by launch. On the up side, Albedo succeeds in capturing a vintage look. From the giant-eyed alien creatures to the neon green slime and tentacles, the entire experience is reminiscent of sci-fi classics.
There are currently twelve levels available, and more are in the works for the official launch. Despite being an Early Access title, Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space already offers plenty of value. The puzzles are challenging, the visuals have personality and charm and the gameplay offers some genuinely creative mechanics. Fabrizio Zagaglia should be applauded for accomplishing so much single-handedly, and it will be exciting to see how the end product turns out. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is one of the most enjoyable Early Access titles I’ve played in a long time, and adventure-game fans should definitely check this one out.
Preview by: Tin Salamunic | Previewed on: PC